Kayelyn Simmons

Research Highlights

Research Interests

  • Characterizing temporal and spatial changes in benthic cover and coral assemblages using structure-from-motion photogrammetry
  • Monitoring spatiotemporal variations in coral reef habitats at multiple spatial scales relevant to marine life and management objectives
  • Using fine-scale spatial data to better inform management, conservation and restoration strategies in coastal ecosystems

Kayelyn Simmons, Ph.D.

Oceanographer, NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory 

Phone Number: 305.361.4324

“As part of research and academic career, I am an avid scientific diver with a diverse background in marine biology and spatial ecology. In addition to using diver-based methods to study coral reefs, I also employ structure-from-motion photogrammetry and 3D modeling to support spatial management, conservation, and restoration efforts for coral reefs and neighboring coastal ecosystems. ”

Kayelyn Simmons joins NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory as a federal oceanographer. At AOML, she will lead benthic habitat characterization studies for several efforts with the Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division, including the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program and the Port Everglades Dredging Expansion project.

Current Work

Oceanographer with the coral research team at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

Download Full CV

2022, Ph.D., Marine Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

2018, Graduate Certificate, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC

2014, M.S., in Marine Biology, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale-Davie, FL

2011, B.S., Marine & Environmental Science, Hampton University, Hampton, VA

Simmons, K.R.; Bohnenstiehl, D.R.; Eggleston, D.B. Spatiotemporal Variation in Coral Assemblages and Reef Habitat Complexity among Shallow Fore-Reef Sites in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Diversity 2022, 14, 153. https://doi.org/10.3390/d14030153

Simmons KR, Eggleston DB, Bohnenstiehl DR (2021) Hurricane impacts on a coral reef soundscape. PLoS ONE 16(2): e0244599. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244599

Carr H, Abas M, Boutahar L, Caretti ON, Chan WY, Chapman ASA, de Mendonça SN, Engleman A, Ferrario F, Simmons KR, Verdura J, Zivian A. 2020. The Aichi Biodiversity Targets: achievements for marine conservation and priorities beyond 2020. PeerJ 8:e9743 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9743

    Sea Grant John A Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship ($45k/year) 2021

    Serve as co-chair for the US Coral Reef Task Force Steering Committee

    Provide written technical reports/recommendations for congressional inquiries on coral interventions

    Support the implementation of the Coral Program Strategic Plan in partnering states, territories, and US coral reef jurisdictions

    Serve on interagency federal working groups prioritizing coral reef conservation, climate change impacts, ocean acidification, and coastal resilience in the Western Atlantic, Caribbean, Hawaii-Pacific

    Assist in coordination and implementation of science-based strategic plans for watershed coordinators, fisheries liaisons, restoration mangers, and coral disease managers

    Provide technical support for National Center for Coastal Ocean Sciences structure-from-motion mapping and place-based restoration efforts

    Communicate and outreach using social media platforms and web stories

    Introductory trainings/workshop: NOAA Financial Workshop (1.0 CLP), ESA Section 7, NEPA

    NCSU Dissertation Completion Grant ($10k/6-months) 2020
    NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program Grant ($72k) 2018-2019
    NCSU Augustus M. Witherspoon Graduate Scholarship ($1k/year) 2017-2020
    NCSU GSA Travel Assistance Award ($500) 2018
    NCSU Ebony Harlem Award Graduate Student Outstanding Research Award 2018
    NC Diversity Enhancement Grant ($1k) 2017
    NCSU Teaching Assistant Fellowship ($25k /year) 2015-2019
    Presidents Faculty R&D Grant (NSU) 2012-2014
    Title V Grant Fellowship US Dept Education ($23k/year) 2012-2014